Statement from the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton
For many in the Church of England this will be a very happy day. Having agreed to permit women priests in 1992, the Church of England's decision today to allow women bishops is the next logical step. What is undeniable is that both developments make harder the position of those within the Church of England who still long for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Pope Benedict XVl's decision to set up the ordinariates - allowing former Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them much of the Anglican heritage and tradition - was made in response to repeated requests from Anglicans who longed for unity with the Catholic Church. It was a prophetic and generous ecumenical gesture because it demonstrated the possibility of unity of faith with diversity of expression.
On 6 September the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is holding a Called To Be One exploration day, which is aimed at making the Ordinariate more widely known and understood and reaching those whom God may be calling to join it. Groups across the country will stage an event on the day. Each event will be different - it may be Choral Evensong followed by refreshments and a presentation about the Ordinariate or it might be a debate or a talk - but all the events will focus on the vision for Christian unity at the heart of the Ordinariate. All who are interested - whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do are warmly invited to attend.
The groups page of the Ordinariate website will be updated with details of the Called To Be One day as plans develop. http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/groups/groups.html
The Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.--------------------------------
Statement by Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.
We note and appreciate the arrangement of pastoral provision, incorporated into the House of Bishops’ Declaration and the amending Canon passed by the General Synod, for those members of the Church of England who continue to hold to the historic understanding of the episcopate shared by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
At this difficult moment we affirm again the significant ecumenical progress which has been made in the decades since the Second Vatican Council and the development of firm and lasting friendships between our communities. We rejoice in these bonds of affection and will do all we can to strengthen them and seek together to witness to the Gospel in our society.
Archbishop Bernard Longley,
Chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity,
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales